Adventures in Senior Sitting: When Opportunity Strikes

It’s been a little while since I’ve written about my father-in-law and the reason for that is: I no longer speak to him. For my own sanity, I just can’t. I’ve got one life, and I’m not wasting it on an asshole.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit sharing stories, you understand. Because we’re all in this together and by that, I mean dealing with in-laws, or shitty people. Or both!

If you’re new to this series, I’ll give you a quick recap.

When my mother-in-law passed away in 2018, my husband and I inherited my then 64-year-old father-in-law who promptly went from a grieving widower to a rebellious teenager within a month. From constantly getting in trouble to bringing home a significant other we couldn’t stand, everything he did was like payback for how bad of a kid I was – something I thought I’d avoided by not having kids of my own.

Those stories, BTW, can all be found here.

A lot has happened since my last post a year ago where I detailed his trip to Florida that detailed him going with COVID then returning, getting sicker, and having me call the ambulance because he had no lung capacity, except for the air he had available to call ALL OF HIS FRIENDS while he waited for the ambulance to tell them that he was waiting for an ambulance.

Since then, he’s moved out – run away to his girlfriend’s house for all you parents with teenagers. But like all people with bad kids, I’m still dealing with and having to hear about all of the shit he’s getting into. 

A few weeks ago we received a letter from a recycling company in the city he lives in now explaining that he’d been caught dropping shit off without paying to drop that shit off, and included a picture of the shit he dropped off. 

I was incredibly disappointed. 

That picture didn’t have him in it. Just the chairs (his girlfriend’s, of course).

I almost called the recycling company to ask them for a copy of the video but my husband wouldn’t let me. He’s such a fun sponge.

Then I decided to do it anyway but before I even had a chance, he’d moved on to another scheme.

Like all wives, my husband has a friend that I can’t stand named Stewart. He’s a complete moron. One time he got in a fight with a guy and when he was told he had a small penis he took it out and put it on the bar. And that’s just one of the hundreds of jackass things he’s done.

Recently, he managed to top himself. He got a DWI and also got charged for firing his gun at somebody. 

His mugshot is fantastic. My friend Joanne (the woman I ghost hunt with) dislikes Stewart as well, so I’m thinking of turning his mugshot into her birthday card. Or maybe have someone on Etsy make a shirt. I’m not sure yet.

Stewart is obviously in a lot of trouble and is facing quite a bit of jail time. 

The way I see it, he had it coming. The way my husband sees it, it’s a bummer that his friend has managed to get himself in this kind of trouble.

The way my father-in-law sees it, it’s an opportunity

Stewart has a membership with a local marina where he pays a monthly fee and can take a boat for the day anytime he likes.

But since Stewart won’t be having a hot girl summer this year, my father-in-law convinced him to put him on his membership so he can rent boats while Stewart serves his time.

This may sound like no big deal, but I haven’t told you about what happened to the last thing my FIL played with that wasn’t his.

Just before he moved in with us, he was living in a hangar that he would tell people was his but actually belonged to his friend, Mark. Mark was a wealthy man courtesy of his oil rights inheritance. 

I’ll never forget when he came into that money too. 

He walked into the motorcycle shop I was working for at the time and looked like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber in the scene where he’s wearing the fringe jacket.

I was like “damn, Mark made it.” New money purchases are snazzy.

Mark couldn’t spend his money fast enough and one of the things he bought himself was a little 3-seater plane. The only thing was, he didn’t know how to fly. 

My father-in-law had his pilot’s license from like the 80s and also used to play flying games on his iPad so you could call him a pro, or at least that’s what he called himself when he pitched his plan to Mark. He convinced Mark to let him live in the hangar and manage his plane and also fly him around. 

Mark agreed and after my father-in-law (and mother-in-law prior to her passing) moved in, he promptly hired an actual pilot to fly them both around. This arrangement lasted about 5 years which is usually the cut-off point for most of his friends. 

One day, a few months after my mother-in-law passed, he was flying the plane around showing off. When he came in for a landing he forgot to put the landing gear down and crashed the plane.

AND THEN…

When Mark gave him the bill for the damages, my father-in-law claimed he wasn’t responsible because it was Mark’s plane

He never paid the bill so Mark kicked him out of the hangar (which he told people he sold BUT IT WAS NEVER HIS) and that is the reason he ended up moving in with us. 

He’s nothing if not consistent as he continues to spread his carnage, first at my house and just wait until I tell you about what he did to his girlfriend – that’s next week.

Or it might be his impending boat wreck where he blames Stewart and adds to his charges, whichever comes first. 

Your Experience Escort: Manifesting this post

I would like to start by saying Holy Jesus On a Stick there are a FUCK TON of people calling themselves life coaches. There are different varieties of them but they all sound about the same, and because there are so many this turned out to not be as easy as I thought it would be. 

Variations of posts were in abundance with every account having a mimic like they’d paired up or something. But they weren’t linked to each other (probably to not raise suspicion) so finding the identical posts turned into that memory match card game except instead of trying to find 2 bears I was trying to find 2 plagiarists. 

It was exhausting

I almost didn’t want to do this anymore.

But I persevered and scrolled through one account after another, finding the irony in the fact that their offer includes helping you become your authentic self pitched in a caption below a professionally taken and edited photo of them doing something super natural like smiling maniacally while sitting on a bench and staring off into the distance. 

Besides having every single thing in common, they were also all filled with inspirational quotes. Quotes as far as the eye can see, as in I’ve literally seen them before, which was pretty interesting because underneath these quotes were the life coaches’ names and handles – not the names of who the quotes were really by.

People you may have heard of such as Jamie Anderson, the author of Doctor Who. 

image2 Like this one!

Odd. I think they thought that because they switched out a word or tweaked it a bit they could just call it there’s. Sneaky sneaky.

It was bound to happen, I suppose. I mean, some of the people I found were dubbed “thought leaders” by Oprah (which, BTW, I think it’s time we quit listening to her and I would like to use Dr. Phil as exhibit A) so it only makes sense that they would see a quote and think “oh yeah, I think the same thing!”, and then just take it and say it was theirs.

So, that’s where I started: quotes. The quotes that appeared to be by the “life coach” which let me tell you, were hard to sift through and required a lot of Googling. The only time this was easy was when I’d read a quote that made zero fucking sense – then I knew it was original.

Anyway, the quote (or variation of) that kept poking me in my pessimistic eye was an inspirational set of words that proclaimed that anything you put out into the universe, you can have. You can manifest anything. 

image0                                                                          Here’s one from one account.

image1                                                                        And here’s one from another!

What they’re essentially saying is “ask and you shall receive”, but to figure out how to make it happen, you have to cough up a coaching fee.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think you need to pay someone $500 a month or thousands of dollars to attend a retreat to figure that out. 

I’ll just tell you.

Ask for something and you just might get it. 

My friend Christy will tell you that her new job came via manifestation and her vision board. But for some reason, she won’t also give credit to the other pieces of the universe that helped: her resumé, our mutual friend who helped touch up her resumé, and Indeed. 

*Side note: I’m not against vision boards, they’re actually a good way to stay focused on your goals. Christy’s daughter, however, is and drew penises on hers, which is objectively funny.

There’s admirability in the act of asking for what you want, it isn’t always an easy thing to do. What they don’t mention is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, especially when that thing involves other people. 

You’re just not always going to get what you want.

Case in point:

Have you ever been to the Kalahari? With the exception of all the kids running around everywhere, it’s pretty awesome. They have an arcade room that rivals Dave and Busters and it is the absolute best. They don’t have it anymore but the first time we went, they had this huge digital Connect 4 game right in the middle of the arcade. 

Nothing says “I’m smarter and more strategic than you” than winning a game of Connect 4 so naturally, my husband and I sat down to play. 

People gathered ‘round which makes the game more stressful – you want those people to see you win but you also want them to shut the fuck up because this is a game of world domination when you’re playing against your significant other.

As we played, a little girl walked up to us and stood right next to me, in my personal bubble. But I was focused on obliterating my husband so I let her stay.

13 seconds later, she began to talk, something I hadn’t consented to.

“You playin’?”

“Duh,” I said in my head. Silence is what I said out loud.

“This game looks cool”.

It was cool but what the hell? Had my husband recruited her to distract me? THIS GAME DETERMINES THE RULER OF THE HOUSE, KID!

But she continued and did something I thought was pretty brave of a child appearing to be aged 7 to 10.

“I wanna play, give me a quarter”.

She said this to me.

Ballsy. I never even asked my parents for money like that. 

Give me? I could never tell my mom “give me” much less a total stranger. This kid had guts. She was going to grow up and just ask for what she wanted and probably get it because she’s got gumption. 

I turned to her, facing her stern little aged 7 to 10 face.

“No. Now go stand over there”.

That kid is probably going places but that day, that place did not include Connect 4 with my quarter.

And you know what she did? 

She shrugged her shoulders like “whatever bitch” and went to go hustle someone else. She moved right on and continued her quest to play games with everyone else’s quarters. Like a true pyramid scheme seller.

I did the right thing because she learned two lessons that day (or zero lessons because kids don’t care). One, you don’t fuck around when it comes to Connect 4, and, B) you don’t always get what you want.

And she taught me that whatever the outcome, you just keep moving forward. 

The moral of the story is: it isn’t necessary to pay someone to tell you to ask for the shit that you want. Like, you can just do that (and I’m not even going to send you a bill for that!). The worst someone will tell you is ‘no’ and if you grew up with a mom like mine, then you’re tough enough to take that. 

You may not always get it but at least you can figure out what to do next after you get an answer. 

I’m not sure what became of that brave aged 7 to 10 child but I hope she’s ruling her end of the world, asking for everything her little however-old-her-heart-is-now desires. 

And she probably is. 

Or she’s turning little kids and small adults upside down and shaking the quarters out of them, cursing me as she does so.

Either way…

It’s one of my favorite holidays: Friday the 13th

The only thing more awesome than Friday the 13th is October Friday the 13th. We don’t get one of those this year. But we at least get this one which, other than every other day, makes it a great day to watch some horror. 

Work has been busy lately so it’s been the perfect time to get caught up on everything streaming in Shudder. I freaking love that channel. Not only do they celebrate Halloween all year long but they stream some of my favorite horror movies as well as have introduced me to movies that aren’t mainstream but also aren’t half bad. 

Southbound (2015. Streaming on Shudder)

This movie actually surprised me. It starts out with 2 men running for their lives (obviously) and continues with a series of scenarios, each completely different from the other, but all connected to put together a gory tale of horrific events. My love for horror movies made up of multiple stories began as a kid when I watched Tales From the Darkside: The Movie. The way all of the stories in Southbound tie together makes it a little more entertaining. It makes for a pretty good midnight Friday the 13th movie.

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Photo by: newyorktimes.com

Open 24 Hours (2018. Streaming on Shudder)

Open 24 Hours is very Fear (1996) meets I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). Mary (Vanessa Grasse) has just taken a job at a 24-hour convenience store, the only place she can work thanks to an incident where she set her serial killer boyfriend (like who hasn’t wanted to do that?). In addition to the convenience store being the only place that will employ her, she also suffers from paranoia. I know, bummer. Throughout her shift, she’s constantly fighting visions of her burned up, Freddy Krueger-esque boyfriend coming back to murder her (a real asshole). As it turns out, her ghost of boyfriend’s past is just one of many things she needs to worry about. This movie didn’t get the best reviews but it’s on Shudder’s most popular movies and that’s because, I believe, it’s not bad. I recommend it.

Open-24-Hours

Photo by: themoviewaffler.com

The Mortuary Collection (2019. Streaming on Shudder)

So we’ve already established that I love anthology horror movies. A woman named Sam (Caitlin Custer) finds herself in a mortuary that’s in search of workers. Sam meets the mortician, Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown who you’ll recognize if you’re a Dexter fan), and after he agrees to interview her, takes her on a tour of the mortuary while telling her stories about the people he’s performed funerals for, and how they died. What I love is that the stories are very Creepshow/Tales From the Crypt – my kind of stories. If you’re looking for a fun movie that still mixes in some horror, this is it. Again, not the best reviews but I dug it.

REVIEW-The-Mortuary-Collection-1

Photo by: filmthreat.com

Housebound (2014. Streaming on Shudder)

I’ve saved the best for last. I watched Housebound on a whim – I’d been scrolling through Shudder movies and my wrist was getting tired. Let me tell you, I’ve never been more proud of my weak princess wrists. Housebound is freaking brilliant. A horror/comedy hybrid, Housebound is the story of a rebellious and troubled woman, Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly), who has to move home with her mother following her latest crime gone wrong. Upon moving in, weird things begin to happen making her believe the house is haunted. This concerns her psychologist as he believes them to be delusions, however, following a home visit from the doctor, Kylie believes there may be more to the happenings and hauntings in the home. Along with her security contractor, Kylie goes on a mission to uncover the truth. What you think is happening isn’t, and the entire movie is peppered with the dry British humor we all know and love, or at least I do. If you like Shawn of The Dead, you’ll definitely like Housebound. I suggest saving this movie for your main Friday the 13th feature.

housebound.jpg

Photo by: variety.com

I hope everyone has a happy, horror-filled Friday the 13th!

Meet Your Experience Escort

Did you know that the SNL skit Pretty Living was written by Molly Shannon and is based on an ad she saw in a newspaper where a woman was advertising herself as a “Joyologist”? I found that out in her book Hello, Molly! 

I wish life coaches still called themselves this.

Anyway, reading that sparked a memory and I think I may know why I have such a problem with these self-proclaimed masters of life.

When I was 12, I got hustled by a woman who claimed to have the secrets that would help me live the life I want.

She was a phone psychic I called in the 90s and she couldn’t even tell that I wasn’t 18. I was away at cheerleader camp when my parents got the bill (thank God) and upon my return, they treated me to McDonald’s then presented me with the bill and promptly grounded me for about 4 months. #bossmove

“Did she predict you’d get grounded?” my dad asked.

“Well, she couldn’t predict that I wasn’t an adult so no.”

I forgot all of her predictions almost immediately which is a great sign that it was a bunch of bullshit, especially since I had 4 months of solitary confinement to try and remember them.

As a kid, I didn’t understand how this woman got hired as a psychic. Was there a test? Did they do that thing where someone goes “guess what number I’m thinking of?” and the interviewee goes “3!” and the hiring manager is like “you’re hired!”

How does one become a psychic?

As an adult, I know the answer. 

You just say you are one. And I know this because that’s how you also become a life coach and/or self-help guru. The requirements are the same too: you just have to be good at bullshitting. A skilled salesperson if you will.

I talk A LOT of shit about life coaches, particularly the 20-something-year-old Instagram ones, but that’s only because I, respectfully, find them to be full of shit. 

I realize how judgemental I am about this subject and believe me, I don’t care. 

For the record, I don’t think the people who seek out these internet snake oil salesmen are crazy or stupid.

Seeking help (period) is not stupid. It’s incredibly brave. 

The people who proclaim to have a secret that nobody else has and convinces others who are vulnerable and in emotional need to pay anywhere from $500 a month to $85,000 a year to learn it? People who lack the education or even experience to position themselves as some sort of emotional healer? THAT’S the shit I’m not cool with.

I mean, even Oprah’s favorite book The Secret – which tells you the whole secret (envisioning your goals, putting them on a vision board if you’re into that shit, and then doing your goals) in a matter of pages – costs like $20. 

Those above mentioned rates may sound made up and oddly specific but there’s a reason for that: a gym friend of mine has worked with life coaches that both charge and pay other life coaches that much. 

I’ll explain.

This friend first worked with a 20-something-year-old life coach to help with her marriage. This self-proclaimed life coach (and now astrologer, I just found out) has never been married and at the time, was dating a man that recently got served by his divorce lawyer for non-payment and was about to lose his own law license. 

As you may have guessed, her lack of experience in this field didn’t work so my friend moved on to another woman claiming to have “the secret”. 

And where did she get said secret?

From none other than Mr. Tony Robbins of course. 

I did not know that Tony Robbins’ business was more than just his motivational speaking and his books. Apparently, you can become one of his disciples/coaches by paying thousands of dollars to ascend the ranks. Kind of like Scientology. 

Or a pyramid scheme.

My friend began attending retreats hosted by a Tony Robbins disciple/former gym member named Laura (who actually came into the gym one day pretending to visit everyone but was actually there to “feel our energy”) and became a different person.

I wouldn’t call her enlightened so much as I would call her cold as fuck.

She went from joking around and dancing at the gym to ignoring all of us and shutting everyone out, including one of her best friends. And after Laura’s visit, she started saying that the gym was full of bad energy. 

She continued to show up, however, and (ironically) spread her bad energy  around the gym, to the point where a week-long absence for a work trip was celebrated by a couple of the coaches and some of the members. Everyone was tired of her coming in and being, to be frank, painfully unbearable. Like an abscessed tooth. 

Or a pyramid scheme pitch. 

And then there were the psychedelics. At first, my friend and her husband would attend these retreats and spend the weekend just staring at each other – which I admittedly thought was weird because I do that with my husband for free. But then the staring eventually turned into tripping as they were now being doped by psychedelics.

Our other friends and I couldn’t understood what she was doing but, honestly, it wasn’t for us to understand. It was her thing and as far as we knew she was doing this to help her marriage. But we also knew that since she’d started these $1500/month shroom sessions she’d retreated from everyone but Laura, who she was now referring to as her mentor. 

You know who else was a mentor?

George Costanza.

This is when we started to think she was in a cult because that’s what cults do – separate you from your friends and family that aren’t associated with the cult. Even Laura had quit hanging out with some of our other friends from the gym, people she’d been friends with for years.

From there I began to think this was some bullshit. And that thought led me down a rabbit hole where I discovered the podcast Sounds Like a Cult (which is awesome and you should listen to it!) and also found that to be the type of Tony Robbins disciple that is allowed to host these retreats and continue to learn about life or something (what Laura does) can run up to $85,000 a year depending on what level disciple you are.

I realize this might just be me but I’m not paying $85,000 to learn about life when I live it every day and that alone requires me to give money to the government. 

And excuse me but when do you actually learn the “secret”, from Tony or your life coach, anyway? 

The answer is: you don’t. These coaching programs are meant to be ongoing. 

Now, there are some people who will tell you whatever coaching they received changed their life, and I think that’s fantastic. But when someone charges any amount of money for guidance they may not be equipped to provide, that’s where shit can get dangerous and expensive. 

Additionally, Tony Robbins clearly states in his disclaimer (that I found buried in his website) that his coaching is not meant to be any type of counseling and even recommends getting help from a licensed professional if you’re in need of one.

Further, he only absolves himself, not his “coaches”.

Side note: I wouldn’t write that you’re a Tony Robbins coach on your resume unless you want to sound like I did when I used to write that I was Miss San Antonio Latina on mine. Yeah, I really did that but in my defense, I got that title the way Tony Robbins’ coaches get there’s: I paid for it.

Look, professional counseling (which Tony Robbins makes sure to state in his terms that he doesn’t do) is one thing. It just doesn’t sit well with me that there are people reading Brene Brown books and then charging people hundreds of dollars to regurgitate her advice to them.

That’s not life coaching. That’s plagiarizing. 

It’s important to note that my thoughts on the Tony Robbins stuff is based on my friend’s complete attitude change and the fact that her husband has made comments about it that imply he’s a little concerned as well.

Again, if it’s worked for you, cool. I just happen to be witnessing the type of transformation you normally see in possession movies.

Anyway, I’ve complained about this ad nauseam for God knows how long so I finally decided to do something about it.  

Beginning next week, I’m going to start pulling posts from various Instagram life coaches, organizing them into categories (because all of their posts are nearly identical to each other), and telling my own life stories that align with said posts. 

Real stories. Shit that actually happened and how I dealt with it. Not made-up stories or excerpts about how one time I looked like a deer in headlights because someone asked me what things I like and I didn’t know an answer. Spare me.

This is really just my petty way of showing y’all how similar (nearly IDENTICAL) these life coach posts are. Also, it’ll help me tell more stories.

Oh, and all of these here’s-what-happened-to-me-but-do-what-you-want stories will all be free. 

No monthly fee. No retreats where I make you yell in a canyon.

My goal is to post once a week but I have a real job that doesn’t involve swindling people so I guess it’s also time permitting. 

Welcome to a new era.

Welcome to your Experience Escort.

PS: I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out this article by Rachael Albers. She does a deeper dive into this online marketing gig (because that’s what these life coaches do) and describes the problem with it way better and more mature than I ever could.

For Real Ghost Adventures: Presidio La Bahia

Hello, and welcome to another episode of For Real Ghost Adventures. We didn’t use to call our ghost hunting trips this but after the last one at the Magnolia Hotel where we ACTUALLY caught real ghost footage as opposed to the guys on Ghost Adventures who I sent my footage and they ignored it, I decided this name was perfect.

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to a place called Presidio La Bahia. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s OK because I hadn’t either (I’ve never been one for the history lessons and whatnot). Located in Goliad, TX, Presidio La Bahia is “the most fought over fort in Texas history, having seen participation in six National Revolutions/Wars for independence. Spanish, Mexican and Texas soldiers all garrisoned its fortified walls. Here, at the Crossroads of Revolution, was felt almost every attempt to forcibly change the governmental order of Texas”, according to the website.

Photo Apr 15, 7 11 28 PM

I tried to write my own description but I found too much information and it began to feel like a term paper. Like I said, I’m not one for the history lessons. If you’d like to learn more about it, here’s the Wikipedia page. Anyway, the fort is closed off and when you rent the room for the night, you get the entire fort to yourself, with no one on the grounds but the bodies that are buried there. It’s actually pretty legit and also, Zack and his boys have never been there. 

During the day, the majority of the rooms around the fort are open. Part of it has been converted into a museum where you can watch a film that is a reenactment performed by “actors” from Craigslist, presumably. There are also tons of artifacts as well as a room full of bunk beds where the soldiers stayed. 

Right outside the sleeping quarters is a church that is still in operation and next to it, the grave of a woman named Anne Taylor. The fort is walled off which makes it perfect for exploring any time of the day. If you’re into history, particularly Texas history, or just dig seeing places like this, I highly recommend checking this place out.

Me? I’m into ghosts. Let’s get this shit started.

When we drove up I immediately thought it was the coolest building. The fact that the chapel was built in the 1700s creeped me out because anything still in existence from the 1700s is automatically scary, Jesus-y or not. Newer more modern churches are all about money and private jets, like Joel Osteen’s. Older churches are the real deal.  

Photo Apr 15, 7 38 01 PM

We unloaded our things, went and grabbed dinner, then returned to get the ghost hunting started. The first thing we did was get out the ghost hunting equipment. Becky is slowly amassing the collection of ghost hunting equipment that the Ghost Adventures guys have and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome. 

She has everything from a Mel Reader (the thing that reads magnetic energy and makes noises when a ghost touches it) to a voice recorder to this app and device that detects cold spots. 

Joanne brought a nightlight that is motion censored, cat balls that she was hoping the ghosts would move, and the free version of a ghost hunting app that played 60-second Candy Crush ads every 3 minutes. I brought my phone and running shoes in case something chased me. Clearly, I’m still pretty green at this.

The first thing we did was sit in the living room and try to talk to whoever (or whatever) would talk back. Joanne’s app included a feature that acted as a spirit box where words from the ghosts would come through. At one point, we were getting pretty freaked out because the words coming through were in another language. But before I put my sneakers to work, Joanne looked at the app and noticed that she had it set to Italian. 

So, yeah, we didn’t get anything. 

It was dark but still pretty early so we decided to hit up the local cemetery that was about 200 meters from where we were. I drove to it in case we got chased by anything. I feel (kind of) the same way about cemeteries that I do about churches: the new ones weird me out while the old ones I find legit. This was just a regular cemetery – we didn’t really get any ghost activity so back to the fort we went. 

By this time it was about 9:30pm so we decided to hit up the courtyard, the same courtyard that at least 13 bodies are buried. Surely, we would pick something up. To the right of the entrance there are some Forrest Gump-like benches to sit down on and talk to ghosts, which is what we did. Becky could see foot prints on her thermal app. My Mel Reader went off at one point, but that was about it. 

Presidio La Bahia | For Real Ghost Adventures

I don’t know if you’re aware of the weather we’ve got going on here in central Texas but it’s humid AF right now. So, after a while of no activity we decided to go back inside, freshen up, and regroup. 

After my shower, I went outside to join Joanne and Becky who were sitting on the step in front of the doors of the church. As soon as I stepped outside the first thing they said was “there’s someone singing in there.” I walked up to the door to listen and sure enough, I could hear a woman’s voice. 

After a few minutes it turned to men singing hymns. It was creepy. Then it kind of sounded like choir practice. And then it wouldn’t stop.

It was way too Ghost Adventures to be true.

I later found out that the woman who manages the church forgot to turn the Church tape off, so the singing we were hearing was a recording. 

We then went back inside to talk to ghosts, but because there weren’t any we got nothing. At about 12:30am, we did one more walk through of the courtyard and then it was time for bed, which was very restful until 8am when the recording of the bells began and rang every 15 minutes until we left.

For Real Ghost Adventures | Presidio La Bahia

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the place wasn’t haunted. First, there’s a church on the grounds. A legit 1700s church. The kind that didn’t need half your paycheck to bless you. This means the fort is on hollowed ground so, hopefully, everyone buried there is resting peacefully. 

Then, I read the guestbook.

That thing read like someone’s diary. “This morning was great! We watched the sunrise and then had lunch. #livingmybestlife

When we stayed at the Magnolia, every entry was one where people described feeling scared and uneasy the entire night. And everyone had a sighting or paranormal experience like us. Nobody wrote, “had breakfast in the kitchen where the murderer ate – best eggs ever!

There was one disturbance I experienced at the Presidio, though. 

The tourists. 

They tried opening our doors thinking that they could go in even though both of our doors were closed and the rest of the doors that you could go through were wide open. And then when our doors wouldn’t open they wouldn’t stop knocking. And then when I tried to leave there were people watching us like they were the paparazzi and a little girl said hi to me and god only knows what my face did because between the diary entries, lack of ghosts, and an abundance of tourists, I was pretty annoyed by this point.

All in all I have to say, the hotel stay was a super fun girls’ night but if you’re looking for ghosts, that place isn’t it. 

BUT WAIT.

20 minutes from the Presidio is a little town called Yorktown. And in the town is the Yorktown Hospital, one of the most haunted hospitals in the country. If it sounds familiar, that’s because the guys of Ghost Adventures paid a little visit to it in season 5. 

So stay tuned for the next episode of For Real Ghost Adventures where we pay a visit to the Yorktown Hospital and I only report on the for real things that happened.

Photo Apr 15, 10 05 25 PM

I took this pic because I thought it was so creepy that the lights were on and we couldn’t open the door. Then we realized it was the street lights on the other side. Yet another not ghost thing.

There’s something for everyone in the Abercrombie documentary on Netflix

I can’t explain why but I have been waiting for the Netflix documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch since the release date was announced on Netflix’s Insta like a month ago.

Maybe it was to finally get the validation I’d been wanting since I was in high school, which was that yes, Abercrombie was for douches. Maybe it was to see if anyone still wore their jeans and shorts, like me (I love the way they fit, and also I was never their demographic so that makes me not a douch!). 

Whatever the reason, the documentary debuted and I could not wait. 

With a full schedule of shit to do for work, I turned on my iPad, clicked on Netflix, and took a trip back to the late 90s/early 2000s.  

Here’s a little about how Abercrombie worked for me back then. I’m from a border town. A border town with a mall that has a Ross, a Bealls, and a vast amount of places to eat. It’s basically a food court with a few clothing stores in it. When I was in high school if you wanted name-brand clothes you had to drive 3 hours to the nearest “big city” mall where you’d find all the places to shop such as Forever 21, Wet Seal (holla!), and an overly-cologned Abercrombie

At that time, the only thing I really knew about it was if you were rich and in the popular crowd, Abercrombie was practically a uniform. Obviously, I never shopped there as I was neither of those. 

When I watched the documentary, I wasn’t surprised at all by the claims that they only wanted “cool kids” to work there so that “cool people” would buy the clothes. Uh hello, remember the models on their bags and on the store signage?

Just a bunch of cool kids hanging out in a meadow throwing a football and joking around. Nothing like the “cool kids” in my school whose outings included skipping out and going to the clubs in Mexico. I don’t remember any of the graphic tees being designed with puke stains but I didn’t wear their clothes back then so what do I know?

Anyway, these marketing tactics worked. Abercrombie became the brand to wear and the place to work, and even though I wasn’t into the brand in high school, they fucking got me when I was 19.

It all started the way it usually does: with a boyfriend.

Just like the former CEO of Abercrombie, my then-boyfriend was shitty. And because he was my first serious boyfriend, his shittiness made me insecure. That led me to do things I would never do. Things that would make me feel cool like the girls he was cheating on me with.

Things like get a job at Abercrombie.

Yup. He worked at Abercrombie. One of the girls he liked worked at Abercrombie. So I thought, I’m good enough to work at Abercrombie. And I was.

My experience wasn’t like the ones in the documentary, however. People were fired or not hired at all based on their appearance. Or, people were hired and scheduled to work on the night crew – the crew that no one saw because they were deemed unattractive.

Because of their discriminatory practices, the company faced a massive class-action lawsuit by more than 250,000 former employees resulting in a $50 million dollar settlement. Beyond their affinity for hiring pretty white folks, their photographer was also a perv, and some of the male models that didn’t accept his advances were ultimately let go from their modeling gigs.

Mike Jeffries, the former CEO whose only dream was to be young, eventually stepped down from the company but not before receiving $25 million. You know, how most of these stories go. 

Today, the company is run by a new CEO and features a more diverse cast of models as well as plus-size clothing, something they’d refrained from in the past. 

In the documentary, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit remarked that her mother had, at one point, asked her why she wanted to work there.

She didn’t really answer the question but we all know the answer. 

To prove your cool status.

Or get a fat discount.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone is some version of an idiot in their late teens and well into their twenties. You have to be to think that getting a job at Abercrombie will show your loser boyfriend that you’re just as cool as the girls he cheats on you with (i.e. ME).

I’m happy to report that my time at Abercrombie lasted only a day. Retail sucks and the unreasonable amount of cologne in the air was nauseating and burned my retinas, so I never went back.

I’m even happier to report that while, yes, my then-boyfriend worked at Abercrombie, he worked on the night crew.

And he never got moved to the floor. 

I hope he saw the documentary.

🙂

Picture from: shape.com

At least the rabbit’s ok

I am allergic to everything. I’m allergic to nickel. I’m allergic to latex, which was a real blast when my last dental hygienist blamed “baby brain” as the reason for “accidentally” using latex gloves for the start of my cleaning, resulting in hives all around my mouth. I’m allergic to certain types of rubber including the ends of the dumbbells at my gym.

When I began breaking out thanks to my IUD (that’s a story for another time), my dermatologist and I created a real fun game called “Try It” where I would take a medication or apply an ointment and if I broke out in hives, then we would rule that out as a treatment option.

This, and this alone, is the reason I’m terrified to get my lips done. My fear is I’ll be allergic to whatever’s in lip filler and my lips will be swollen for at least 2 months. However, a friend of mine recently got hers done and the result was making me more confident in the idea that hey, maybe I’m not allergic to everything.

That all came to a screeching halt yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I walked into the gym like I do every morning, only this time I was greeted by my coach’s eye before the rest of her. It was like she was morphing into a character from my Resident Evil games.

“Oh my god, who did that to you?!” was my first question. Accusatory, yes. But eyes like that don’t just happen. Unless you’re me and you discover the hard way that you’re allergic to certain lash growth serums.

She responded: “my esthetician”.

The day prior, my coach had a facial and during it, was asked if she would be willing to have a procedure performed on her that was designed to help collagen production resulting in fewer wrinkles. Wrinkles that she doesn’t even have.

She agreed because who doesn’t want better eyes for free?

Her esthetician began the procedure which include some sort of needle gun, a topical cream for numbing, and some sort of serum. The type of supplies you see a “doctor” using in a B horror film.

The end result was one kind of swollen eye and one that was nearly swollen shut, like the kids from The Hills Have Eyes.

THAT is my nightmare realized. I am as vain as they come but not vain enough to risk deformity. That’s where I draw the line.

“Can’t you ice it?” a friend who had joined the conversation asked. “No, she told me not to.”

“You mean the woman who did this to you? I would get a second opinion if I were you” our friend advised.

I felt terrible for her, especially because she still had to coach like that (swollen and in pain). She started class and during our warm up explained to everyone what happened.

“Basically,” she said, “I was her guinea pig. I let her test out her new tool on me and this is what happened.”

Everyone listened intently, with sympathy in their eyes and heart.

Then, from the side of the gym, came the voice of one of the new guys.

“Well, at least the rabbit’s OK.”

The smartest part of your body

This is going to sound crazy but just like Jon Edward or Tyler Henry, I too am not psychic. Never have been just like they haven’t. While we may all be solidified non-psychics, there is something that they do that I don’t, aside from not predicting anyone’s future or speaking to random people’s loved ones. None of us can do that. 

They are very good at acting on their gut instinct, which is how they’ve become famous for being phenomenal at cold reading which they call “being psychic” but as I’ve already explained…

I’m terrible at going with my gut, like the time I had a feeling I should move my mother-in-law’s ashes from our mantel, and the next day our gigantic clock fell off the wall (thanks to the lack of anchoring from my husband) and my mother-in-law’s ashes went flying into the dog food. I had to scoop her ashes out from the dog food and put her in a ziplock bag until I could get another urn/canister to put her in.

So, yeah, I could never be a cold reader, er, psychic.

My best friend Ileen, however, could. She can read people like a book, like when she met her ex-sister-in-law’s parents for the first time and immediately thought they were fraudsters, and a few years later they were raided by the FBI for their business practices.

She has some good inclinations about people, so when she interviewed for a job last summer I wasn’t shocked when she explained why she turned down the offer.

“I get a bad vibe from that lady,” she said. “And she sounded like she didn’t even want to work there. I’m not doing it.” 

She’s since gotten a job – one where she gets to play on the Internet all day, which means she’s always up-to-date on her local news. 

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Dude!” That’s the first thing I heard when I answered her call the other day.

“You’re not going to believe this.”

Apparently, the woman Ileen interviewed with was getting ready to go to prison. It turns out that Ileen’s gut was literally and figuratively protecting her and itself.

The woman had been poisoning her staff with colon cleanser, making all of them sick and at least two of them seriously ill. When questioned, she told cops that it was “just a prank”. 

Who knew you could use “just a prank” as a defense for attempted murder? I watch a lot of true crime and I’ve never heard that one. Although, if Netflix sees this the “prank defense” might be about to global. 

Can you imagine being poisoned by your boss? Laying on the floor, writhing in pain while they nudge you and say “get up, I was just playing”. I’ve quit jobs for far way less than that so that was pretty ballsy of her.

So anyway, the next time your gut is talking to you, listen to it. If it’s gurgling, you’re too late. Live (hopefully), learn, and listen next time. 

Vivarium and The Room: weird houses and jerk kids.

I’ve known I wasn’t meant to have kids since I was 13 and a friend of mine gave me her Tamagotchi – one of those electronic aliens on a keychain. I’d never expressed interest in it nor did I even know what its appeal was, but I accepted it thinking she was just being nice. Immediately I realized why she gave it to me. She hated me.

I couldn’t get it to shut up and I didn’t know how to turn it off. The first night I had it my mom stormed into my bedroom in a full-on rage, pissed because the bloody thing kept beeping and I couldn’t hear it even though it was right next to my head. After a couple of days it finally died – not the batteries, the actual digital alien or baby or whatever the hell it was.

These days I’m particular about what items I accept, and that includes children. Don’t even ask me if I want to hold your baby. Thanks to that Tamagotchi, the answer is I do not. I’m not falling for that one. Not like the dumb-dumbs in Vivarium did.

Vivarium (streaming on Amazon Prime) starts off with a couple in search of a home, finding themselves in a neighborhood that looks like it’s straight out of the Monopoly game. Even though every single house is identical, they keep their appointment with their weird AF realtor, doing a walk-through of what might be their new home. They’re like “mmm, I don’t know” and then try to drive out of the creepy neighborhood but as you may have guessed, they cannot.

So, they end up staying in their creepy dollhouse and while they may not be able to find their way out, Amazon can as they receive daily packages – one of them being a FUCKING. BABY. Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) is like “um no” and Gemma (Imogen Poots) is like “we have to it’s ours”. And thus begins an hour and a half of screaming, tantrums, fighting, and trying to escape but ultimately realizing there’s only one way out.

If you’re on the fence about having kids or would like to know what my 48 hours with a Tamagotchi was like, watch Vivarium. Warning: it’s weird as fuck.

2019 must’ve been the year for movies about weird houses and jerk kids because at the same time Vivarium came out, so did The Room (streaming on Shudder), except in The Room, the featured couple conjures up a devil child as opposed to just being left with one. I’ll explain.

Kate (Olga Kurylenko) and Matt (Kevin Janssens) have just moved into a home that’s special because a murder was committed in it. As a consolation prize, the room where the murder was committed grants wishes – a peace offering if you will. They both quit their jobs and decide to live off The Room, wishing for all sorts of bullshit. However, the one thing they both really want is a child so naturally, they wish one into existence.

How could this go wrong?

Well, for starters, they didn’t read the instruction manual on the room because if they had, they would have known that all of their wishes cannot be taken outside of the home or they’ll turn to dust. So it’s like the people on Instagram who pay to take staged photos in private jets but they don’t actually fly in private jets – like that.

The rules apply to the child as well, a fact they discover after Kate takes the kid outside and he turns into an 8-year-old or some age like that. Then he really turns into an asshole. He’s pissed because Kate won’t let him go outside and Matt doesn’t like him so he lashes out. But things really take a turn when he turns himself into an adult, and then we have a whole Oedipus situation going on.

It’s either the parents or this manifested little jerk – who will win? You have to watch The Room(streaming on Shudder) to find out. Or, if you don’t want to invest your time in it (and I kind of wouldn’t blame you), let me know and I’ll just tell you.

**My series and movie reviews will now be moving over to jennavision.blog. Enjoy!

Vanilla Ice Saves a Blogger

Once, on a flight to Vegas, I sat between a large man who took up part of my seat and needed a seatbelt extension and a woman who had her face in the vomit bag before the plane even took off. Meanwhile, my husband sat between two hot blondes. Another time, on a flight to Colorado, the man sitting next to me farted the entire way there. Only it didn’t hit me in the face until we landed and he stood up. Till then it had been muffled, building up for its grand entrance to my face.

Then there was the time we were heading home from Jamaica when our driver got into an accident with a motorcyclist on our way to the airport. 

All of those traveling instances were 87% less annoying than traveling in today’s climate. It’s not so much the rules and regulations that are a pisser (I will say, though, that for all the publicity masks get, they don’t protect against farts. You need actual Covid for that, which I find ironic). It’s the aftermath that’s made traveling less-than-ideal.

Recently I paid a visit to California after a 7-year absence. The political reason I was there was to support my husband at an event. The actual reason I was there was to finally get to see SUR: the setting of Vanderpump Rules – a show I used to write about and now really can’t stand but I’ve been planning a trip to SUR for years and wasn’t ready to give it up.

In years prior, I’d always flown into Ontario or Burbank. But since I wasn’t sure when I’d be heading back to California, I decided to arrive as a real-life tourist. So I opted to fly into LAX. 

On a Saturday.

Arriving at 4:30 p.m.

Following my anti-climactic arrival, it was time to start the driving portion of the trip. It had been a minute since I’d driven a car that wasn’t mine and also, I’d never driven by myself in LA before. I picked up my rental and off I went, all Britney Spears Brave New Girl style.

For a while, I was really feeling the LA vibe which was nice considering I’d been in need of a confidence boost. Driving down the 101 was helping. At one point, a guy who was easy on the eyes was signaling at me which made me giggle like I did when I was in high school and Kenny the hot senior patted me on the head (which I took as flirting because of course I did).

Anyway, I needed some better music to go with my mood but changing the station was a pain in the ass because it was dark and I couldn’t make out the dials. 

And then it hit me.

Why the guy signaled at me and why a handful of cars had been flashing their lights at me.

I’d been driving with my lights off and the people flagging me down were trying to keep me from killing them. In my defense, I am an incredibly spoiled American and have a car that has auto-lgihts. So I forgot that sometimes they need to be turned on manually. I am also a dumb American. I miraculously made it to the event, which went better than my drive to it. I got to meet Danny Trejo so that was cool.

image0                                                                        Danny Trejo is cool

But then the next day…

In planning my excursion to SUR I thought I had everything covered. I knew what I was going to say if I ran into Lisa Vanderpump, how I would get on camera, how Stassi would be there and we’d become best friends. I was prepared.

What I hadn’t prepared for was nearly the entire city of West Hollywood being closed on Mondays – the day of the week I happened to be there. 

In an attempt to cheer me up, my husband and our friends (a couple that accompanied us) took me to the Santa Monica Pier, the only thing that appeared to be open that day. It didn’t help. Fortunately, we didn’t stay long because the fog rolled in and we had to outrun it. 

I couldn’t believe I’d come all this way just to be in a straight-to-DVD sequel of The Fog. So, I decided, fuck it, we’re going to SUR. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just pass by it or break into it and snap a pic, but I came to California to see that stupid restaurant and I wasn’t leaving until I did. 

So off we went, being chased out of Santa Monica by the rolling smog of death.

20 minutes later there it was, looking nothing like I thought it would. 

I needed to get closer so we parked… illegally because at this point what did it matter? What did anything matter?

There I stood, peering into the window where I watched 2 workers move furniture around. 

I tried to wave them down.

They ignored me. 

Typical LA.

Anyway, I got my pictures of SUR with absolutely nobody from the show in them so who cares.

image3                                                                                       A pic of the closed entryway, blocking off my dreams

image1                                                                               “How do I get inside SUR?”, I wondered to myself

image2                                                                              “Lisa’s in there, I know she’s in there.”, I said aloud

I’m not the only one who missed out on some good Instagram footage. It turns out, my friend Hannah had her own Typical Jenn vacation only 95 times cooler than mine, which is very typical for me.

Last month, Hannah, her husband, Kirk, and his parents headed to Steamboat for some skiing and to take in some shows from a few of their favorite Americana bands. In addition to Covid, their flights were of some concern as they were traveling during the 2 weeks when all of those flights were getting canceled.

They made it to Denver fine, and then stayed there the rest of the day as their final flight to Hayden was canceled. The next day, they barely made the last flight to Hayden for the weekend. Unfortunately, their luggage did not.

After purchasing a wardrobe for the weekend, they discovered that skiing was going to be a bit of a challenge as the venue was completely packed. Everywhere they went, a crowd seemed to follow made evident by the fact that when they went to the concert venue they were unable to get into the majority of the concerts they wanted to see due to the place being at max capacity.

Right when she decided that she’d fucking had it, a superhero came in and saved the day.

A superhero who, by day, goes by Rob Van Winkle. At night and in times of need, he goes by Vanilla Ice. For reasons we’ll never know, Ice took the stage and performed his mega-hit Ice Ice Baby, and he wasn’t alone.

Performing alongside him, dancing to a beat of her own, was Hannah’s mother-in-law. While her MIL had the time of her life, Hannah and Kirk stood there and watched, emotionless, waiting for it to end.

It didn’t.

Her performance got her, Hannah, and Kirk backstage passes to hang with Vanilla Ice. Hannah’s MIL happily accepted and spent the remainder of their time there taking shots with Mr. Van Winkle and having the time of her life. 

And they were unable to document any of it. Ice’s security guard wouldn’t let them take pictures or video. They also wouldn’t let Hannah’s MIL keep any memories. After one too many shots, Kirk literally carried her over his shoulders to their Airbnb and, when briefed on her night with Vanilla Ice, she couldn’t remember a thing.

With no luggage, no souvenirs from any concerts, and no account of the conversation that Hannah’s MIL and Vanilla Ice had thanks to her alcohol lobotomy, they headed home, concluding one of the best shitty vacation stories I’ve ever heard. Way better than my I-didn’t-get-to-go-to-a-restaurant story. 

Tune in next week when I complain about my Apple watch not holding a charge.